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Poster: Blank Date: Jan 5, 2005 10:31am
Forum: naropa Subject: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

I didn't realize it but I guess I have finished the literary history of the beat generation lectures. Of course 9,10 and 14 aren't posted (this isn't a request- I've been greedy enough).

First, THANKS to Allen, the supporters of Naropa and the librarians and archivists for preserving this. I've been in and out of archives all my life and this has been the friendliest and most accesible. Even the geniuses of Mars will bow in respect and GRATITUDE.

Hearing Allen read and review made me rethink and re-appreciate some things:
1. Kerouac, specifically visions of Cody. I think Allen's voice brought this book alive for me. And it was interesting to see Kerouac go through stages and hear his method progress as narrated by Allen. Ginsberg's talks on k's sketching method (I would mention the lecture # but the archive is acting grumpy today) were precise and usable. Definite highlight.
2. Having never been a huge fan of WSB, I think the Yage letters did a lot to shed light on his writing and connect some of his more wacked out DMT-esque visions with Ginsberg's dictum to write "anything real or imagined." I realize he wasn't just trying to be weird but actually closed his eyes with his hands over his typewriter to get a better picture of what he actually saw- maybe something about seeing his evolution into naked lunch helped me appreciate it more.
3. I dug some of the tangential poets like Creeley and De Angulo, especially as read by AG.

I also have some questions, written to no one in particular except maybe if a student of these sessions or someone who knew AG ever reads this.

1. Psychology: to me this is the big mystery. I think you could make a good case that the modern era's goal of art as a way of understanding your mind and even the methods for doing it were hugely influenced by Freud and psychoanalysis in general. On at least one occasion, G mentions K was exposed to free association technique in therapy. Allen himself was locked up in a psychiatric hospital and mentions being in therapy in one of his later poems. Throughout lectures he sprinkles words like archetype, neurotic, paranoia and sub/unconscious but never elaborates or even mentions the intellectual impact of psych on the beats. It is as if Allen could have interpreted his mindwriting program equally well in psych or Buddhism but chose Buddhism and ignored the bastard stepchild. If he had engaged Psychology, it would be curious to know how he felt about Jung's insights or Active Imagination or the Imaginal psychology movement or free association versus the amplification technique or thousands of other little idiosyncracies of psych method and philosophy. Perhaps as a community of misunderstood gay men, they were resistant to psych and its reductionist tendencies (file that under complete and total conjecture)?
2. Where is Snyder and Orlovsky? I assume they are covered in the missing lectures. The absence of both is pretty striking.
3. Woody Guthrie- I know it sounds odd, but where is he in Allen's mind? Here's a man who crisscrossed America composing spontaneous verse with a radical message. On one hand, he just doesn't "feel" like a Ginsberg connection but on the other hand, he must have heard of him and his attempt to capture regional flavor with subjective insights had to ring a bell. The man even check out books on eastern spirituality from his Oklahoma public library!

Finally, I can hear the complaints of those who said Allen's history was self serving and closed him off to other accomplishments in the poetic world. In one lecture a student asks something like "Does the beat generation cohere around a theme or is it just people you know?!" If I may, I think some of the confusion is just that there is no such thing as the beat generation outside Life magazine- it's a media illusion. So Allen was just talking about people he knew and for simplicity/fame sake calling it the beat generation. I'm a huge lover of AG and I have to admit the man was a bit of a mega-marketing machine. In retrospect, it can come off as heavy handed but I think AG might have believed in it on a religious- love your life, create your own mythology and history level. In his time, when some much slander and spin was being thrown at him and his friends, his self narration must have been essential for survival and sanity.

Like I said before, the talk on Kerouac and sketching was the highlight. Near the end of that class Allen says something like "you have to be in eternity for your sketch to have an eternal presence and if you aren't in eternity well then no one can tell you how to be, maybe you should go to the shrineroom" (paraphrase). I'm not so sure, I feel like his writing and these lectures have gone a long way to bringing me into eternity.

THANKS-



This post was modified by Blank on 2005-01-05 18:31:04

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Poster: woolley Date: Jan 17, 2005 8:24am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

In reply to the first message on the topic of phychoanalysis:
although you are not a big fan of William S. Burroughs
I think you may find it interesting to look into his concetions with phychoanalysis.
Burroughs was, at one time, in psychoanalysis with Dr Paul Federn (among others) who had been an early pupil of Freud, Federn referred Burroughs to a hypnoanalyst who believed in the acting out of characters found in hypnosis.
Burroughs’ three most important characters were: A simpering English governess, who constantly shrieked and giggled, a psychotic southern sheriff who sat on his porch with a shotgun over his knees, and a bald-skulled Chinese man, absolutely alone on the banks of the Yangtze.
At this time Burroughs lived on 115th st in N.Y. with Joan, Kerouac and Ginsberg. They would sit around dressed as their various characters going through routines where situations were developed until breaking point and then repeated trying to tackle any possible variation. The wide range of source material came from things such as analysis, dreams and overheard conversations, although Burroughs did not yet consider himself a writer, this method of routines and repetition became the major source for his novels.
Burroughs was also ended pychoanalysis with another doctor who ended the treatment after concluding he was as 'out-and-out con' which as you can imagine, pleased Burroughs immensely.
I think this was probably the first introdution to Phychoanalysis for Ginsberg and Kerouac, but who can say.
woolley

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Poster: village_idiot Date: Jan 7, 2006 2:18am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

hi.

do any of you know why the entire 'Literary history of Beat Gen lectures' series has been pulled? the reason given in the error message is it's because of content. but I'd figure it'm more like a mistake. no?

s

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Jan 8, 2006 6:26am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=42810

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Poster: Blank Date: Jan 17, 2005 9:46pm
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

Thanks for that! I remember AG does mention the different Burroughs personalities in a lecture (I think it is part 1 but the archive is grumpy this morning). I didn't know the other details though. I also recall Allen and/or Jack undergoing some sort of therapy with Burroughs as the analyst. I also remembered Allen mentions Williams James' Variety of Religious Experience in one lecture as an important influence in determing the modern project of understanding your own mind.

Considering the anti-gay and generally oppressive nature of psychoanalysis in the 40s and 50s, I guess it is not surprising that the trio looked elsewhere. But I think in terms of discussing his poetic method, psychology and psychoanalysis' specific language and ideas might have helped Allen articulate particulars of method more clearly. In the long run I suspect it doesn't matter- Allen certainly wasn't at a loss of words to explain his method. But in trying to use and teach some of these methods in my own life, I find that some of the ideas of psychoanalysis help to overcome the thousand of micro-obstacles that arise in trying to put these into practice.

For instance, recently I was amazed to read in James Hillman's Soul of the World the following paragraph:

when I am asked "how was the bus ride?" I respond "miserable, terrible, desperate" But these words describe me, my feelings, my experience, not the bus ride which was bumpy, crowded, steamy, cramped, noxious with long waits. Even if I noticed the bus and the trip, my language transferred this attention to notions about myself. The 'I' has swallowed the bus, and my knowledge of the external world has become a subjective report of my feelings.
An aesthetic response does require these feelings but it cannot remain in them; it needs to move back to the image. And the way back to the bus ride necessitates words which notice its qualities.
Since the enlightenment our adjectives have moved from qualifying the world to describing the self...


I then thought of how the Bus Ride Ballad to Suva perfectly avoids Hillman's subjective point of view. Being from a psychoanalytic frame of reference, he uses an entirely different set of ideas to make sense of this idea (he generally suspects Buddhism of trying to silence too much whereas his goal is to get people to speak). It's as if they got to the same odd place in the woods with two completely different maps. Their subtle disagreement would have been a great chance to further refine their ideas.

If nothing else, Hillman's essay helped the Bus Ride Ballad splash a little louder and leave larger ripples and vice versa.

This post was modified by Blank on 2005-01-18 05:46:59

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Poster: Peiro Date: Mar 6, 2005 1:19am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

Hey, I wanted to know if any of you have any information at all about a woman poet in the late 50's named Lee. I know that she was known and friends with Ginsberg and Corso in the Paris Left Bank scene. I know she was a junkie as well... But I would love to learn alot more about her. Does anybody have anymore info about her?
Thanks,
Peiro

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Poster: charlieD Date: Apr 16, 2007 7:32am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

...lee on the left bank C donna !

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Poster: Randy Roark Date: Jan 6, 2005 12:03pm
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

The only two references to Snyder and Orlovsky in an index to the Literary History of the Beat Generation classes is one on Sndyer (28 June 1977, tape 1), and one on Peter Orlovsky (23 June 1977, tape 1). These tape for all of Allen's classes in this series were sent to Barry Miles in the mid-nineties, as a book contract had been signed to turn these lectures into a book (which never happened). Since Miles was responsible for transcribing these, they were not included in the project to transcribe Allen's classes from 1974-1983. Some of these "Literary History" tapes, if I remember correctly, were damaged or under-recorded and unintelligible, and perhaps Snyder Orlovsky were covered in tapes that no longer survive. If you want to hear Ginsberg on Snyder and Orlovsky, I recommend a series Allen produced for KGNU radio in 1982, in preparation for the upcoming Kerouac conference.

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Poster: archivegrl Date: Jan 7, 2005 12:29am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

now, if we can only find those KGNU tapes....hahaha..

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Poster: Randy Roark Date: Jan 7, 2005 2:10am
Forum: naropa Subject: Re: the Literary history of Beat Gen lectures

There were recorded and produced by Len Barron for KGNU, and they were commercially available through Wind Over the Earth way back in 1982. I have a set at home if you can't find them in the archives.